More pokies won't reduce harm - Greens

By Kate Shuttleworth

File photo / Steven McNicholl
File photo / Steven McNicholl

The Green Party says an increase in pokies is no harm minimisation plan, as National is suggesting.

Greens' gambling spokeswoman Denise Roche said the Government's plan to greatly increase the number of pokies at SkyCity is being falsely sold by John Key as a some sort of harm minimisation plan.

The Prime Minister told TVNZ's Breakfast programme this morning that 483 pokie machines in New Zealand would be decommissioned this year, and that Sky City would not be getting up to 500 new machines.

"The Prime Minister keeps acting as if his Government is personally on a crusade to lower the number of pokies we have in New Zealand,"said Ms Roche.

"There is a sinking lid policy related to pokie machines, but it stems from the work of councils throughout New Zealand, not any Government policy. John Key's deal is entirely separate from this and will mean that a foreign owned casino will be able to significantly boost the number of its machines."

Reports show the number of problem gamblers using the SkyCity casino has increased by around 300 per cent since 2008.

"Increasing the number of pokies machines at SkyCity means more problem gambling," said Ms Roche.

- APNZ

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